TONKAWA, Okla. - Behind a stellar second-half defense and a career-high 11 saves from sophomore goalkeeper Jami Reichenberger, second-ranked Butler edged out a 3-2 victory over No. 3 Tyler (Texas) on Friday at the Northern Oklahoma-Tonkawa soccer field.
Sophomore forward Colleen Howland scored a pair of first-half goals to keep pace with Tyler, while freshman Kennedy Weaver had the eventual game-winner in the 58th minute for the Grizzlies (4-2 overall, 2-0 conference).
Just 4:10 into the contest, Howland put in the opening goal off a Lexi Clark pass on a free kick to give Butler a 1-0 lead. However, Tyler quickly answered with a blast from O'Shea Nelson just 56 seconds later. Running up the right sideline, Nelson took a pass from Logan Phillips and hammered a shot off the left post which then went back into the net.
Tyler took a brief 2-1 lead courtesy of Carlota Suarez, moments after missing a penalty kick. Suarez was tripped in the box in the 13th minute, but Reichenberger made a save on the kick. However, Suarez would make up for the mistake just a minute later on an assist from Claire Ramet.
Butler responded on the other end in the 15th minute, as Howland dribbled into the box and momentarily lost possession, but recovered and punched a short goal into the net.
In the second half, the Apaches tested Reichenberger with eight shots on goal, but the Grizzly keeper kept Tyler scoreless - including making four diving saves.
Butler took the lead in the 58th minute when Weaver scored on a shot just inside the upper left post from the right side. Katie Hartman was credited with the assist.
The Grizzlies' defense kept Tyler from putting a shot on goal in the final five minutes to secure the victory.
Tyler played the aggressor for most of the contest as the Apaches outshot the Grizzlies 27-9, but also had a 16-2 margin in fouls called. Tyler also had a 7-1 corner kick advantage, but only had one of those attempts on goal.
Butler will play its seventh straight game away from home on Sunday with a road game at Rose State (Okla.) at 4:30 p.m. The Grizzlies will then host their first game of the 2016 season against Cowley on Friday, Sept. 16.
NOTES: Butler records its first win against Tyler since a 3-2 home win in on Sept. 9, 2012... Tyler still leads the overall series 4-2-1. On neutral sites, Butler and Tyler are tied 1-1-1... The win is the Grizzlies' first against a top-three NJCAA-ranked opponent since beating Iowa Western 3-0 in the 2015 season opener... Reichenberger's previous game-high in saves was nine, which came in the NJCAA semifinal loss last November against Iowa Central.